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(In Win 901) Asteria II: Rearmoured

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  • #46
    Originally posted by littlejeremy View Post
    the lighting beneath the hard drive looks like this concept, I like it !
    It's by no means an original idea

    My inspiration actually came from seeing the motherboard lighting on Project Pink by Xien16 many, many years ago and always wanted to try it myself at some point, so I put it into Asteria II when I first started the design. The drive covers are an extension of that idea, only mine will be brushed aluminium plates with the lighting "floating" over the drives to cover them up.

    Thanks for your interest!
    ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

    Build log available here


    • littlejeremy
      littlejeremy commented
      Editing a comment
      I believe so, really looking forward to seeing the final project :-)

  • #47
    any news here ? great mod !


    • #48
      Thanks. Nothing new to report just yet, I'm currently overloaded with long hours at my current job so I have very little free time.

      I have made some new designs for the motherboard lighting panel, so I hope to get some laser cutting done soon, and the pump top experiment is at the top of my list as soon as I can get the power tools out. I have new PSU and reservoir mounts to make up too.

      Hopefully I can make some more progress soon, the actual modding and construction work is almost finished so I can get on with cleaning everything up, stripping, poweder coating and assembly.
      ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

      Build log available here


      • #49

        Greetings to all!

        You remember me talking about that custom DDC top that would solve many pump placement problems? Well it kinda did and didn't work. Can it be done? Yes. Can I do it? Not so much, but this was exploration after all.

        My big problem was actually cutting the acetal block to size and maintaining a perfect square. By the time I'd managed to straighten things up the actual block was a tiny bit too small in some dimensions. Not a deal breaker potentially so I continued the experiment nonetheless.

        Let's get going!

        When I made my first batch of light panels, I also cut some drill guides for the various holes and feeds for the pump top. Alas, no pictures of them in isolation, but this is the 3.3mm guide set for the volute side of the top in situ: 4 holes for M4 mounting threads and a pilot for the central feed.

        The depth gauge on my pillar drill isn't amazing so I marked the required depth onto the drill bit with some masking tap.

        I built the volute up in stages. First up is a 10mm drill to feed into the volute itself. Got my air compressor ready and waiting to disperse debris and offer a bit of cooling to the acetal.

        Acetal is lovely to work with. You really only need woodworking tools, so nothing special, but you need to treat it with a bit of respect. Heat can build up very quickly and acetal goes stringy rather than producing chips, so you need to get that rubbish out of the way quickly so you don't gum up your drills, holes and make a mess. Best practice from what I've read is to have your drill speed rather low and then "peck" at the material as you feed. That way you don't get long strings building up and are easily removed. And the airflow also helps a bit with temperatures too.

        Another reason I built this in stages is to maximise the efficiency of the Forstner bits I'm using. Forstner bits scrape away at material much like a spade bit; given the bit spins faster at the edges than the centre, I've found it's quite effective to remove the inner portions first, letting all the grunt apply to the outer parts of the bit.

        So with 10mm removed first, the 20mm Forstner bit only has the outermost 10mm to scrape out. Turns out I didn't actually take a picture of the 20mm bit in place before milling.

        That's how stringy things can get, and in this instance no amount of air helped disperse it. So lots of pecking and pulling the strings off to get this:

        Now comes the big boy: slightly oversized 40mm bit (comes out at 41mm)

        Even with only milling the outermost 20mm, no finesse with this pupper at all. The mess!

        Did the job quite roughly too, so some clean-up of the edges required.

        And this is where I stopped.

        The M4 threads went in nicely first time but when I mounted this to the pump for a first fit I noticed that either a drill hole had slipped or I still hadn't squared everything up correctly, and the top was slightly out of alignment. I couldn't take any more material out to make it work, but the first half of the experiment was successful in that it's very easy to drill and mill a block of acetal.

        I'll go back at some point and put some ports in just to test how much performance is lost with a circular volute, but in all honesty the thing that I need to address is getting square blocks. My jigsaw was pretty worthless cutting through 20mm, but a tabletop scroll or band saw might do a better job if I can guide, fence and cool properly. Or I could buy in pre-cut blocks. Ultimately getting the thing CNC milled is the best way to go, but at that point I might as well design a proper spiral volute and do this right.

        For now it's plan B.
        ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

        Build log available here


        • #50
          Plan B is to modify my existing Aquacomputer pump top to add a new inlet port on the opposite side of the outlet to achieve my required crossflow design. The volute is already spiral, the internal milling and feeds are there, I just need to smash in a new port. This does also mean that both of the top ports need to be covered, so that's a new cover plate too.

          Break out the acrylic guides and drill a 6mm inlet feed into the pump's collection chamber.

          Lined up and ready for the 11.6mm drill for the port

          Stringy mess, lovely black contrast to the white from earlier.

          And thread that G1/4 (don't worry, I straightened the tap up after taking the picture )

          Success! Inner part of an EK HDC 12mm in place

          Because this top has a side inlet port, Aquacomputer milled out this intricate collection chamber in the upper half of the acetal block. All I did was pass a 6mm feed into that chamber and then offset the actual port down a few mm so the fitting will be as flush to the top of the pump top as possible.

          Now close off those top ports with a plate since I don't have the space to use normal screw plugs.

          I never actually intended to use this acrylic plate, otherwise I would've engraved the logo in the correct orientation but in practical terms the acrylic is only 1.5mm thick so it's actually bending in the middle rather than applying pressure to the o-rings. So since it'll probably leak, I guess we're on the stainless steel.

          Rough shape cut from 1.2mm 304 shiny stainless (for no other reason the shiny sheet was £1 from eBay)

          Shaping. Some of the corners would cut, others wouldn't so there was A LOT of rasping and filing down. And it's stainless steel so it's not exactly a quick job.

          Drilling the M3 holes. My poor drill bits! Basic HSS bits and stainless steel don't play nicely together.

          But after quite some time, aching arms and a sore back, I got there.

          The stock Aquacover, my first version single port laser cut and the 2nd version no-port variant cut by hand. Crikey.

          And after some tidying up and expanding the screw holes, we get this!

          I've done a test fit and I have literally zero space behind the Titan given that the HDC fitting in the new port raises up 2mm above the top surface. But the important thing is this crossflow design removes all of my position restrictions and greatly cleans up my loop run in and out of the pump. That's a massive relief.

          This top will do for now, however I've hooked up with Lucas from Mp5works who's milled me some aluminium pieces (update coming) so there will be a conversation coming about a 2nd attempt at the proper bespoke top. If that comes to anything I'll certainly let you know

          Thanks for reading as always, hopefully a bit more to come soon!
          Last edited by LePhuronn; 12-08-2017, 01:00 AM. Reason: Typos
          ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

          Build log available here


          • #51
            Hi there, a little bit more for you before I, no doubt, disappear for months again

            A replacement PSU mount and version 3 reservoir mount, beautifully milled in the same 1.5mm aluminium by Mp5works. Many thanks, Lucas! The focus for this post is the res mount.

            It's been commented on a few times "I can't wait to see how you're mounting the res" given I've said I wanted something unobtrusive, almost invisible to give a floating appearance. For my money all the res mounts I've seen are a bit unwieldy and no finesse to them. Hopefully this will achieve the look I want.

            So, folded up and mounted to the Aqualis ECO 100:

            Simple, out of the way. In what can only be described as a miracle, my intended millimetre precision has actually worked for once!

            The plate matched perfectly to the chamfer of the acetal base, so no unsightly overhang, and the vertical portion just close enough to give clearance without a massive gulf. Those chunky M4 screws will be replaced with slimmer button heads for the final build.

            So, in situ then:

            Positioning is about 90% accurate here. I need to be careful because I don't have much room below the res and the Titan, and I can't push it up too far otherwise the 90 degree fitting on top fouls the roof of the case chamber. Dead centre in the chamber though, and will be coming away from the PSU area by 4 or 5mm.

            I'd say that was pretty damn invisible

            Since this is only 1.5mm aluminium, it's not going to hold up to much abuse and weight as-is. That's borosilicate glass for a start, and then add in 100ml of water too. You can see it sags a little already with the unsupported test placement. The mount itself will have a bit more support from being screwed into a M3 standoff a bit further back (that small hole underneath the vertical portion), and the res itself will be supported at the top.

            The idea is that acrylic ring will be screwed into the roof of the case chamber with a chunky M4 bolt and hold the res top vertically in place, along these lines:

            Should help stop the res from tipping sideways along the mount's fold line. After some proper mounting I'll test it with water and give the case a wiggle to see what happens. I already have a dual-screw version drawn up in case I need more support, but will have to make sure it can't be seen (single screw version will be obscured by the 90 degree fitting).

            Failing that I'll just use and abuse the 2nd G1/4 port in the res top and screw the damn thing directly into the roof

            So that's it from me for a while. I'm currently solving a conundrum with my storage plate assembly to try and thin it down a bit; with everything stacked up it's currently about 3mm too tall, so I have some refinements to do. That will be helped by how far I have to trim the DDC heatsink's fins, which in turn dictates how much I can space out the glass side panels from the main body.

            We're getting there slowly, thanks for being here!
            ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

            Build log available here


            • #52
              Happy New Year to all! As I'm pottering about with some tweaks and redesigns of bits and pieces, I'm looking for your opinion on a wee something as I can't quite make up my mind.

              It was always intended to have an illuminated logo on the I/O shroud but I've never been too sure on how to achieve it. At first I tried cutting the letters out of the vinyl wrap to expose the acrylic underneath but I couldn't do a tidy job, and the letters themselves are too small for a vinyl cutter so that idea was binned off.

              In what feels like a bit of a cheat given I made the I/O shroud prototype by hand, I'm now going to 3D print a new one so it's all straight and lovely (been having a few issues folding up a 2nd version), and was going to have the logo cut into it.

              The thought was I can then cut out the bits of vinyl and tuck them into the letter spaces, but again we're talking about small letters and the 3D printer I have access to isn't likely to be accurate enough.

              So, I'm now looking at the raft of illuminated I/O shrouds coming out on every RGB motherboard these days to draw inspiration on how I can best approach it. The latest thought is to have an engraved strip of acrylic inset into the printed I/O shroud. The strip is easy to cut with a laser, the printer is accurate enough to make the hole, and I can paint the strip with black acrylic paint and then etch off the letters. But I'm not sure if it'll look any good, and the more I stare at the sleek and unfussy work I have already, I'm now not even convinced I actually should put a logo on.

              So I've done a Photoshop mockup to try it out. What do you think?

              You've seen the board as it stands now:

              Mocked-up inset panel

              The more I look at it, the more I don't think I should. I'm not even sure I'm keeping the brush black aluminium wrap now and moving to the same matte black as the heatsinks and sound card - in certain light the I/O shroud, heatsinks and CPU block are all different black textures and it flies in the face of my original complaint about the board! Plus the RAM has lighting on it and the motherboard is underlit, so would a logo on the shroud - however discreet - be too "blingy" and take away from the clean and understated thing I got going on?

              I'd value your input since I'm about 75% sure after posting this I'm not going to bother.

              Last edited by LePhuronn; 01-01-2018, 06:16 PM.
              ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

              Build log available here


              • #53
                Discussions around the interwebs are pretty much unified in saying to drop the lighting from the I/O shroud, so I'm pretty sure now that's what's going to happen.

                I have enough brushed black and matte black vinyl wrap to change my mind, so for the time being I'm going to keep the brushed black on the newly printed shroud and then assess once the project is a completed whole.
                ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

                Build log available here


                • #54
                  Hello to all, I thought I'd share a little something I've been working on. It's quite nice to be able to post this as I've been struggling with creative block on this small part, and it's delayed the last few cuts and holes needed.

                  I'm using the fan extension PCB that comes with my Maximus VIII Impact to split off fan control and temperature probes rather than the motherboard itself. This way I can keep a lot of the cable bulk tucked up out of sight by routing through the various tiny gaps and spaces between the case internals and the outer skin, including the PCB. And believe it or not, it's going in here:

                  There's a surprisingly large 20mm space between the PSU chamber and the outer skin once the case is fully assembled, which is more than enough for the PCB to sit in with the Molex power and all the various cables. Of course, as with pretty much every decision made on this project, what I came up with at the very beginning is never actually viable when you come to build.

                  Yes, I can fit the PCB in there, but how do I actually get my fingers in to connect everything?!? So I've had the crazy idea of putting the PCB onto a runner so I can wire up the fans and whatnot and then slide it into place. After a few weeks of creative block dissipated, I start playing around in Fusion 360 and come up with this.

                  2-part design with a plate holding the PCB (yes, I did model holes for ALL the solder points on the back ) and a vertical stand which will be mounted to some brass standoffs.

                  The runner is a simple 45 degree chamfered wedge about half the length of the PCB plate.

                  Line up with the full cutout, slide it into the chamfered bit and then pop in a short M3 screw at the opposite end to keep it securely in place. As this is intended to slide out of the rear side of the case, I'll need to chop out some material for an exit space.

                  I might make up a quick size prototype with some scrap acrylic, but this will only cost a couple of quid to 3D print at my local maker space so I'll more than likely just smash straight on.

                  Not much progress really, but it's still something to show you, hopefully my creative block has lifted and I can get my energy and motivation back to push on.

                  Catch you soon!
                  ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

                  Build log available here


                  • #55
                    Greetings to all!

                    Blimey, it's been a while. 2018 wasn't the most fantastic year so many things were shelved, delayed and ignored but work does continue (albeit very slowly) and I thought I'd share some success with you.

                    Cast your mind back to the pump placement issues (or go have a read if you're new here - welcome ). I'm very happy to say a significant step has been made in resolving it: the DDC is finally in!

                    After all the toing and froing regarding measurements and poor accuracy, I confirmed that the distance from the edge of the GTX Titan and the glass side panel gave me an operating width of 43mm. DDC heatsink bodies are on average 20mm tall and my choice of pump top is a further 20mm. Factor in some manufacturing tolerance and the combined pump+top is 42mm tall. What that doesn't factor in though are the fins on the bottom of the DDC heatsink, which add 5mm, and DDC tops traditionally are fed from the top. All in and we're too big to fit. I've already discussed modding the Aquacomputer DDC top to have a side feed and using a custom stainless steel plate to seal off the top feed, so that keeps the top down to 20mm, but it was the heatsink that was the major issue.

                    The first plan was to just chop the fins off my Alphacool heatsink. Because Alphacool use a very thin thermal pad, removing the fins would reduce the heatsink to 19mm. Nice, but then put 1.5mm back on for my mounting bracket and we're up to the limit again. Plus, I didn't fancy the idea of getting nickel everywhere from cutting and filing, and I know I'd just want to strip it down and replate to keep things tidy. Same deal with the EK heatsink; easy enough to strip the anodising off the aluminium, but then it would need recolouring. But then I noticed Barrow take a slightly different approach.

                    Barrow's heatsinks are actually in 2 parts: a chunky piece of aluminium which does the actual heatsinking and a thin body ring. Could I combine then the actual heatsink portion and mounting bracket? That would save a lot of space. So I grabbed one and redesigned my mount. Believe it or not I actually cut this by hand!

                    Scruffy? Yes. But I'm stoked to get the end result that good with just a step drill, coping saw and a crap wrist

                    Quick assembly to ensure my mounting holes are correct...

                    ...and then fold that bottom tab into place.

                    Nice job, but does it actually work?

                    So far so good, but there's supposed to be a computer in there...

                    Hot damn that's tight, but it's not actually touching the Titan. Major win (and relief) #1
                    ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

                    Build log available here


                    • #56
                      Now, in a perfect world the entire pump assembly would fit within that 43mm operating space so I can put the side panels back on with no further mods, but if need be I can put in a 1mm spacer to just edge the panels out without issue. Do I need to?

                      Maybe. The pump mount is almost flush with the case tabs that hold the side panel mounts. If the mount is flush then the glass will press on the pump and we'll get vibration and noise. But 1mm in this build is acres of space so I'm not too concerned right now.

                      Now at this point I'm still just test fitting for viability. As a result I'm using standard dome head M4 screws to bolt everything together. The head height for those screws though is 2.3mm so of course they're not going to work. But the plan is to use countersink screws and get them flush with the mount.

                      Golden! Major win (and relief) #2

                      What I've not shown you here is a small failure. I'm using 1.5mm aluminium and the countersink M4 head is 2.3-2.5mm, so I wasn't sure if I could just slap a countersink into the mounting bracket given I'm missing almost 1mm of material to cut into. The idea at this point was to JB Weld spacers to the inside surface and give me more material to form the countersink. These spacers would also serve as proper alignment feet for the Barrow heatsink ring given it's just 8mm through holes and slides around the screws as you tighten up.

                      The Mod Gods were merciful and I found some perfect spacers: M4 tight through holes (4.1mm) and 8mm diameter. Perfection Nickel-plated brass though, but they won't be visible so didn't matter if paint didn't take, but a quick rasping on the mating surface got rid of the nickel there ready for the JB Weld. The JB Weld didn't take though as a 2mm ring just wasn't enough surface to adhere to and take the pressure of grinding down a countersink cone. Plus it was possibly the hardest form of brass in the universe. So the spacers popped off, but wonderfully the countersink in the aluminium took perfectly without deforming! Nice bit of luck there.

                      For now I've slid the spacers inside the barrow body ring so they can still serve as alignment holes, but for the build proper I'm going to drop in some 16mm long nylon spacers to fill the gap from the pump top's alignment feet and the mount, hopefully providing a bit of support so I don't warp the countersinks as the entire assembly is tightened.

                      So moment of truth then. Does the glass panel actually fit back on?

                      Oh yeah Glass side panel perfectly screwed in. I can actually give the pump a push from the other side of the case and it doesn't knock against the glass. Major win #3

                      Speaking of the glass panels, I never actually told you about them either. Stay tuned...
                      ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

                      Build log available here


                      • #57
                        OK, about those glass side panels.

                        The drive to retain as much of a stock look for the case as possible extends to keeping the same thumbscrews for the glass panels, so given I was replacing parts of the case which have panel mounts on them I needed to rebuild those mounts to fit the screws. Now although they're standard 6-32 threads, it took me a while to find brass standoffs that were 6-32 on both sides; usually they're 6-32 male and M3 female. Also they needed to be about 5mm in diameter too in order to fit the rubber grommets and mate with the glass.

                        Turns out I shouldn't have bothered

                        Eventually found some, marked up the new holes, tapped them into place and then realised they were too long. Not a problem, I'll just cut them down to fit, but then I realised a major error in judgement. Firstly, by chopping down the standoffs, there was very little female thread left to screw into, so there was no way the tempered glass could be supported safely even if the thumbscrews could actually go in. Then I realised that In Win had used through hole self-clinching threaded standoffs. This is how their thumbscrews would fully seat into the case and support the tempered glass.

                        So after carefully inspecting some of the original case parts, I tracked down the exact PEM fastener required, but the company in question no longer dealt with private customers, and I couldn't find any Chinese knockoffs (unlike my flush nuts). So I resolved this by doing something I didn't want to do: irreversibly cut up the original case

                        These particular standoffs fit into place by cold-forming sheet material into a little channel between its main body and a flange. As a result there's no welding or such required to get them in. So, by cutting into the aluminium either side of the standoff's main body, the material around it is actually no longer attached to anything. Gently pry it off and the standoff is released.

                        Since these things are steel pressed into aluminium, there's no deformation at all and can be re-used. So give them a quick sand down to remove the paint and get a proper through hole cut into my tabs (5.6mm in this instance). Then apply pressure.

                        And in they pop!

                        My half ton arbor press was sufficient for the pressure, but I had to use a chunky M8 spacer I had floating around as a makeshift anvil. Worked nicely though. Unfortunately I couldn't get the arbor press into position for the main body where we have this big B-shape series of folds. So I used my body weight instead; laying the fully folded, tapped and drilled final body work down onto a piece of MDF with a hole in it, putting a dome head screw into the backside of the standoff placing a couple sheets of material onto the screw head and then generating half a ton of pressure by balancing on one foot and doing squats is really, really not how I want to insert these things. There was this big pop and I did not know if the standoff had gone in or if I'd trashed the whole damn thing.

                        It was the former.

                        Beautifully stock.
                        ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

                        Build log available here


                        • #58
                          Hey there. Might as well post some pretty renders of part 2 of the "seriously, haven't you fixed or discarded the DDC yet" saga.

                          With the pump assembly perfectly in place, it now transpires that I can't make the tube routing from pump to radiator through the floor to work without a stupid, ugly amount of adapters, and it's too tight for soft tube too and just kinks. So as suspected it's time to return to the custom pump top idea. Completely redesigned this time though. Enjoy the renders

                          I've extended the body width by 19mm to cover the distance between the pump body and the radiator holes in the case floor, so now an EK 90 degree rotary fitting will align directly above the radiator port's centre line, with sufficient vertical space to get a compression fitting on and angle some tube. That extension means I've gone down a distro plate approach to go from the volute outlet to the port, which has of course necessitated o-rings and a sealing plate.

                          And yes, the strong resemblance to Aquacomputer's DDC top is intentional; wanting to keep the look, I've drawn on many design cues from their dual DDC top to create mine as a homage to the top I've had to discard. I don't think I can get in trouble for that

                          To allow for measuring and manufacturing tolerances I will be using Mayhem's ultra clear soft tube for this part of the loop, but it's very clear for soft tube, 13mm OD is indistinguishable from 12mm OD acrylic when piped in, and once I have Oil Black Pastel coolant running you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between the soft and hard tubes I think.

                          And I'm also very excited to say I'm discussing manufacturing of this right now. CAD models are being verified as I type
                          ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

                          Build log available here


                          • #59
                            Update! Minor change of plan already

                            As I was fine-tuning the CAD work, I realised that I'd completely forgotten a fundamental point in this entire build: clearance spaces. And specifically, the entire reason I've been working and fighting with side ports is because I have zero space on the top face. So why in the hell did I put cap head screws along the horizontal centre line? They're going to foul the bloody graphics card! What a wally!

                            So as I was reworking things, it also occurred to me that as I'd gotten a bit carried away with replicating Aquacomputer's aesthetic, it would actually look out of place with my aesthetic. Countersunk screws solve both of these issues! So, the portion of the pump top that is visible peeking over the graphics card will have countersunk screws just like the GPU backplate. Also, my logo would be totally obscured by the GPU too.

                            So new model and new renders

                            It might yet drop to 4 screws instead of 6, but this IS getting made
                            ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

                            Build log available here


                            • #60
                              OK, shortly after I posted last night I had a change of heart about the number of screws in the top plate. 6 started to look a bit cluttered, although I liked the symmetry of it. Since the top plate is 1.2mm stainless steel and won't flex because it's only 77x58mm in size, I remodelled to 4 screws instead. But because it's a slow day at work and I'm procrastinating, the 4 or 6 screw thing is bugging me. So I've done 2 quick layouts to illustrate (Fusion 360 in a browser is awesome!).

                              Looking at these without any lighting or textures and fancy projections, I think I'm actually satisfied with the 4-screw variation, it feels a lot more "open". The 6-screw symmetry is very nice but does feel a little cramped when I apply the graphics to the plate.

                              Any thoughts?
                              ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

                              Build log available here